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Critics are calling out President Donald Trump’s new “blueprint” for lowering prescription drug prices, saying it falls short of providing true price relief.
The sweeping plan, unveiled Friday, aims to fight high drug prices through four main strategies, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar:
- Increase competition in drug markets.
- Give Medicare Part D plans better tools to negotiate discounts on behalf of seniors, which private-sector health plans often already use.
- Develop new incentives for drug manufacturers to lower list prices.
- Develop options to lower patients’ out-of-pocket spending.
Media outlets like CBS and the Associated Press — as well as Democratic politicians like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi — note that the blueprint stops short of fulfilling Trump’s campaign promises to take on pharmaceutical companies directly, including leveraging the federal government’s Medicare program to negotiate lower drug prices for seniors.
“The President is breaking his promise to the American people to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, which would save seniors billions of dollars at the pharmacy. … The President’s proposals are yet another giveaway to Big Pharma, and do nothing to hold wealthy drug companies accountable for their unconscionable price gouging.”
CBS and AP also note that while Trump said his plans “will start to take effect very soon,” his blueprint stops short of setting deadlines, meaning the public has little idea of when Trump’s changes would become reality.
According to the CBS/AP report:
“The administration will pursue a raft of old and new measures intended to improve competition and transparency in the notoriously complex drug pricing system. But most of the measures could take months or years to implement, and none would stop drugmakers from setting sky-high initial prices.”
Despite this, consumers can still take an array of actions to attempt to save money on medications. We’ve detailed these steps in articles like:
- “10 Expert Tips for Slashing Prescription Drug Cost“
- “This Is How I Slashed My Prescription Drug Copay“
- “The 50 Percent Cost-Cutting Tip Your Pharmacist Can’t Share“
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